I’m a little too lazy and disorganized to use coupons on a regular basis. Factor in that you have to pay real money for the Chinook Book before seeing any savings and it must be pretty terrific before I’ll take a chance. Well, this is my third year with the artist formerly known as the Eco Metro Guide, and I’m loving it. But before I can fully recommend it, I have to offer up some tips and caveats.
Celebrating what’s “green and local” and offering incentive to make small positive choices,the Chinook Book (East Bay edition) is stuffed with community coupons for places you already want to go, places you want to try, and products that are worth buying.
In order to make it worth it for yourself, here are my tips:
- the first trick is to buy it for FREE or almost free. If you pick up a copy at the Alameda Natural Grocery ($15 off), Pharmaca, or Ecology Center (15% off), you can use the coupon for the merchant while purchasing the book itself. Alternatively, many schools, preschools and great local organizations are selling these books as a fundraiser. Good for you if you can support one.
- next, you must pick out a bunch of fun activities to tackle (Ashkenaz, Shawl-Anderson dance lessons, Brushstrokes, Wheels of Justice, and on and on!). Keep the coupons in your purse or car where you can’t forget them.
- finally, schedule ONE BIG SHOP. Yes, coupon-fearers, it’s time for you to be the annoying person with all the coupons at the grocery store. Choose the products you already buy (butter, milk, yogurt, bread) and sprinkle in some special treats (coffee, chocolate, tea, organic ice cream) and get it out of the way!
If you do these 3 things only, you will definitely get your money’s worth from the Chinook Book. I like to record my savings in the front cover (like a huge nerd) and see if/when I break even before deciding to do it again the following year. If you have stamina and memory to continue your way through the book, more power to you!
I have until the end of October to use up my Eco Metro 2010 coupons while my Chinook Book 2011 coupons are all ready to go. Therefore, if you see me in line at the Berkeley Bowl, you must choose another line. I’m gonna be using coupons like a fiend, my friend.